A guide to Hawaiian Adventures
With its palm-fringed shores, towering mountains, stunning flora and island spirit, the group of islands that makes up the state of Hawaii has been described as ‘paradise’ by centuries of travellers. For adventure-sport enthusiasts, the islands excel in virtually every way. From surfing to climbing, bungee jumping to scuba diving, Hawaii offers challenging experiences in an idyllic environment.
Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean, and more than 2000 miles from any continent. Nevertheless, numerous carriers offer flights to Maui, Honolulu and the Big Island from the US. For travellers from the UK, the best bet is to book a flight to the US West Coast and arrange an add-on fare to Hawaii.
Within Hawaii, public transportation is limited – the only island that has an extensive bus service is O’ahu. Most visitors hire a car or moped, with prices for car hire ranging from about £20 to £30 per day.
Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing. Ancient Hawaiians integrated the practice into their culture, performing ritual ceremonies before making a surfboard and entering the ocean. The islands receive some of the largest and most consistent waves of the planet, and breaks such as Pipeline and Jaws are known the world over.
For those not willing to risk their life on Hawaii’s biggest waves, recommended spots include Ehukai Beach Park, Backyards and Laniakea on the North Shore of Oahu, Hookipa in Paia on Maui, Honolua on the North Shore of Maui, and Hanalei on the North Shore of Kauai. The best beginner-sized waves can be found at Waikiki Beach on Oahu.
All of the Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanic activity. The resulting cliff faces, pinnacles and boulders are a playground for climbers of all abilities. Oahu has the most well-document routes for traditional climbers. The best spots for top-rope climbing include Mokule’ia and Makapu’u on Oahu. Beginners can receive lessons at the Volcanic Rock Gym on Oahu.
Diving in Hawaii is a feast for the senses. The geology is stunning – expect to see huge bommies, arches, lava tubes and craters. Also expect to see numerous ship and plane wrecks – many of which are still marvellously intact.
Swimming among these are friendly turtles, schooling sharks, manta rays and frogfish. Hawaiian waters are also home to a number of indigenous species found nowhere else on the planet. Some recommended sites include the Molokini Crater off Maui, the First and Second Cathedrals off Lanai, and the Mahi shipwreck off the shore of Oahu’s Waianae coast.